Friday, 15 February 2013

Kunst

While it is nice to enjoy a week's holiday lounging around at home, doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that; it is also rather nice to go out for the day.
And so with that in mind we sallied forth taking the tram in to Dusseldorf.

It was cold of course, and snowing but blue skies were confidently predicted for the afternoon...

We had an important mission in mind: To visit the Museum Kunstpalast:


The Palace of Art. 
Way way back in the 1700s Johann Wilhelm, the Elector Palatine (and a native of Dusseldorf) gave exhibitions of his collection of art works at the royal palace.  The palace is long gone and the art collection was whisked away to Munich but in the 1840s the people of Dusseldorf elected to create their own Art Collection and this formed the nucleus of the collection housed at the Kunstpalast today

I took this photograph as we left at the end of our visit and as you can see, blue skies did indeed eventuate!  At first glance it is not the most handsome of buildings, looking more like a hospital to our eyes:

However this building is one of the fruits of the short-lived Weimar Republic.  Built to plans by the architect Wilhelm Kreis who also built the Concert Hall a short distance away, it showcased the 1925 exhibition entitled: 'Großen Ausstellung für Gesundheitspflege, Soziale Fürsorge und Leibesübungen' (Great Exhibition of Health Care, Social Welfare and Physical Exercise).
A few years later and the Art collection moved in from the old Kunstpalast which is now the Art Academy.
Here is the Kunstpalast all shiny and new in 1926:
This photograph comes from the Museum website:   http://www.smkp.de/en/about/history-and-architecture.html

Upon entering, the first thing you see is the huge stained glass windows by the famous Dutch artist, Jan Thorn Prikker:
I found this window to be soothing.  With its jazz-age overtones I think that it compliments the building perfectly.

Here are a few highlights from the kunstpalast that I thought I would share with you but I should warn you that some of the photographs may be a little blurred because naturally, no flash photography was allowed inside.

Look at the beauty to be found in the wonderful hymnal.  I liked the little attention to detail in the birds:


These sixteenth century prancing, capering angels are wonderful!  I had never seen them carved with a covering of feathers before.  I really like them:

There is a large collection of Japanese netsuke (toggles) on display as well.  I like this one of the half mouse (?) half man.  Next to him was a kimono wearing cat person:

 This painting of 'Jonah and the Whale' could quite happily live in our apartment:
 Painted by Pieter Lastinan it shows the whale literally spitting Jonah out of its mouth.  Jonah goes flying through the air although his robe always remains strategically placed.  I particularly like the velvety look to the body of the 'whale' and its unusual eye!

Although I seriously blurred this photograph of a fifteenth century carving of Our Lady, together with the Infant Jesus and her parents, I wanted to show it because of the wonderful attention to detail, and skill used by the carver:
Just look at that hand turning the page of the book.

And speaking of attention to detail, look at this wonderful painting by Adrien van der Spelt:


UPon entry we were told that parts of the Art Gallery were closed but we didn't mind because it gave us longer to visit the Hentrich Glass Museum which is in the same building.  It is one of the largest glass museums in Europe and has glassware dating back over 2,000 years...

Roman and Egyptian glassware:

These 19th Century vases are beautiful:

This 16th Century vase is made to look like cracked ice:


This very pretty, hand painted vase is rather small but the detail is wonderful:

Isn't this 16th Century glass plate magnificent?

Here is a sixteenth century novelty jug in the shape of a soldier (without head):

There was a large collection of modern glass creations as well:


But could they match this 17th century glass teapot from the Netherlands?  It would fit very well into my own collection!:


Finally,  I'm not sure but that blurred, ghost like person walking down the stairs in front of me could be AGA...

37 comments:

  1. Hello kirk:
    We are most struck with the exterior architecture of this building which, whilst not pretty, and indeed somewhat institutional in appearance, is very much of its time. The collection it houses is most eclectic and contains, very obviously, some wonderful items.

    We were interested to see the glass, particularly the Roman glass, since our family had a large collection of similar, now donated to the British Museum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jane and Lance,
      You are right, the building is very much a child of it's time.

      Gosh I wish our family had had a collection of Roman glass! To feel and to hold something like that, from such a long time ago - a tangible link to a domestic past - that would be for me very exciting.

      Delete
  2. Hello Kirk, What a great road trip, visiting a museum in another city. In this case, as you say, the building itself is not much but the collection is wonderful. I was quite taken with the Prikker window, a true masterpiece.

    I would have wanted as much time as possible in the glass museum. My clear favorite there is the Egyptian New Kingdom ear studs.
    --Road to Parnassus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jim,
      When you walk into the building (not knowing what to see) and being suddenly presented with that window: One can see why Prikker was a master of his craft.
      I liked those Egyptian ear studs too. Very cleverly made I thought.
      Bye for now
      Kirk

      Delete
  3. Dear Kirk,

    The Kunstpalast looks eerily like the high school I went to. It also looks much more handsome in its early, beautifully manicured state — it must have appeared so modern.

    I like the feathered angel — it looks like something that dropped in from Indonesian myythology! Also, I don't think I've ever seen a representation of Mary's parents. Certainly they're due some credit!

    What strikes me about the glass is how modern both the icy-surfaced glass and the 16th century transformer/robot/soldier are!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mark,
      You made me smile. Now you come to mention it, it does have that dreaded school like appearance...
      When I saw that icy glass I was expecting it to be 20th Century and when I read that it was 16th Century I was completely taken aback. What is interesting for me is the fact that it illustrates a thought that a craftsman had: I wonder if I could make a glass drinking vessel that looked as if it were made of ice?

      Delete
  4. Hello Kirk,
    Thank you for showing us around, I would be most happy in just the glass museum - so much to see and such beautiful pieces! The stain glass window by Jan Thorn Prikker is, as you describe, very soothing and quite special. Wishing you both an enjoyable weekend.
    Ivan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ivan,
      To my eye, that glass seemed a fitting representative of the jazz age. I could have something like it in my house quite easily - say in the entrance hall...
      I'm glad you liked this post.
      Bye for now
      Kirk

      Delete
  5. Hello Kirk

    This is the perfect day away from home. How fascinating and interesting the Museum Kunstpalast is. I am sure when one re-visits new treasures will catch the eye. I am particularly impressed and love the carving of the Holy Family. One does not often see the parents of the the Blessed Mother in art.

    Thank you for sharing this special day.

    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Helen,
      You are right, you don't see too many representations of St Joachim and St Anna. They do pop up though, rather like the occasional photographs one finds of very distant ancestors...
      There are all sorts of legends and stories about them.
      Bye for now
      Kirk

      Delete
  6. Netsuke are always interesting, aren't they? It's amazing to me that people can carve such detail onto something so small. Those angels are beautiful as well - never seen anything quite like them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are indeed MW. I have a couple of netsuke but they are quite modern. It is amazing to think of the skill and craftsmanship that went into the making of these tiny objects!
      Bye for now
      Kirk

      Delete
  7. Dear Kirk - whenever I visit a museum I tend to concentrate on a few different aspects, it is impossible to take everything in, the mind goes into overload.
    The feathery angel is unique, and I wondered if the glass soldier once had a stopper in the form of a head.
    I love netsukes and am always intrigued by the amount of detail the craftsmen can put into such small pieces. Have you read the wonderful book The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden inheritance by Edmund de Waal, Edmund is a wonderful contemporary potter?
    The piece that I will keep is the blue glass plate, although I notice that there are other tempting bits of glass too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rosemary,
      I agree with you. Sometimes you are faced with so much 'art' that after leaving you are not sure what you have seen! That was why we passed a lot by and concentrated on the few.
      That blue glass plate was AGA's favourite as well.
      Now Edmund de Waal, you are not the first to recommend that book and as we have it in our library I am now intrigued to give it a go. Interestingly he is a descendant of the Ephrussi family. A member of that family, by marriage is Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild who I admire.
      I hope you are having a nice weekend!
      Kirk

      Delete
  8. Dear Kirk,
    Once again, you've treated us all to a wonderful adventure, and to exquisite new visual experiences... The Kunstpalast--palace of art-- I love the name, and what a gem it is! I'm sure it will act like a magnet to you and AGA and call for more visits to enjoy it's treasures.... I especially loved seeing that pair of feathered angels. I've never seen an angel like that and I'd have to say they are now my absolute favorite--so playful and beautifully carved! The netsukes are also very fine, as is the glass teapot from the Netherlands... I'd happily live with these, or indeed, any of the objects in the Kunstpalast's collection! Perhaps a grand heist is in order...
    Warm regards,
    Erika

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Erika,
      Thank you for your comments. I would happily have taken those angels home with me to decorate our walls. You are right: There is something very playful about them.
      I like the idea of a grand heist. How soon can you get here with a car?

      Delete
  9. What a lovely time Kirk. Your photographs are so crisp....I feel like I was there! I adore visiting a museum...we are close to Boston, and have the opportunity to d this quite often...it really is liberating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you ND,
      We love going to museums too and while here in Europe we have visited a lot. I think that it is because we love history so much. I also enjoy thinking about who previously owned the piece that I am looking at, or who made it!

      Delete
  10. Hello, Kirk - That AGA is such a tease. Next time, make him turn around for us :) Thanks for this delightful tour! As I am an amateur glassware collector, I'd be most interested in visiting the Hentrich Glass Museum. Wonderful photos. The still life painting by Adrien van der Spelt is just fabulous!!
    Loi
    PS - Many thanks for your good wishes and kind words! I'm feeling much better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Loi,
      I'm glad you are feeling better - having a bad cold can make you feel lousy.
      As am amateur glassware collector you would love this museum - three floors of the most interesting pieces. I think I too will start collecting glass!
      As for AGA I think he might be in his Greta Garbo period... Maybe one day he will slip into a Marilyn Monroe phrase and want his photo all over the place!
      Kirk

      Delete
  11. Extremely interesting this virtual tour! Thank you so much. So glad to discover your blog!
    Olympia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Olympia,
      Thank you for stopping by and your kind comment. You are welcome any time!
      Bye for now
      Kirk

      Delete
  12. Museums draw me in with their promise of enlightenment. The hymnal and the stained glass are my faves on your tour. The hymnal reminds me of illuminated manuscripts. I appreciate stained glass for its symbiosis with light.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Susan,
      Like you I appreciate stained glass and indeed have taken many photographs of various stained glass creations over the year. My favourites are the stained glass windows in the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris...

      Delete
  13. I liked the ride, thanks for Share.

    Best regards,

    Peter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Pedro
      I'm glad you enjoyed this post!

      Delete
  14. Dear Kirk,

    What an impressive collection the museum has. I do like the glassware in your photographs. Especially the modern ones.

    The building looks a bit sad. They should reinstall the old gardens and the promenade on the left hand side. It would look much better! It's amazing to see what a garden can do to a building. It can even make a, not so pretty building, look beautiful!

    Have a lovely evening!

    Madelief

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Madelief,
      Actually a lot of the area looks a little sad during winter. I think that it just the way these 'modern' more industrial looking buildings are in the grey winter.
      I agree with you. A nice garden can soften the edges, add some colour and give even a really drab building a little spark.
      Bye for now
      Kirk

      Delete
  15. Hi Kirk, What an interesting post. Enjoyed your photography. The 16th Century glass plate is truly a beauty! Thank you for sharing and for your kind comment on John's Island. John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello John,
      Thank you for dropping by. I'm glad you enjoyed this post. Some of that 16th Century glass is just wonderful and looks for all the world as if it was made yesterday!

      Delete
  16. A gorgeous post, Kirk. Thank you for taking us along on your visit to this interesting museum filled with treasures. I love everything you showed but especially that beautiful blue 16th century plate and the feather covered angel figures (they are very intriguing).

    The Jonah and the Whale painting is intriguing as well since it's obvious the painter never saw a whale but just imagined one as a big fish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I particularly like the way that the 'fish' is sitting on top of the ocean too!

      Delete
  17. Kirk, I liked your one day trip to the Art museum. When I've been to Munich I was surprised its wonderful Kunst gallery as well. Interesting exhibition! I loved the 16th century blue plate, it's awesome. The stained glass works are unusual and catching eye. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Nadezda,
      Thank you for your kind comments.
      A lot of people like that plate. It is a very nice colour I think.
      I have not been to the Kunstpalast in Munich but I do know that a lot of the art work there is originally from Dusseldorf.

      Delete
  18. I'll take the pair of prancing angels and Jonah and the Whale to go please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would Sir like them gift wrapped?

      Delete
  19. This museum has so many interesting items !I liked all the glasses and the plate of 16th century ! Nice that you spent your time there !
    Have a nice week !
    Olympia

    ReplyDelete